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Posted May 17, 2013
Bloodlines adds to the discussion of race relations by its full
Bloodlines adds to the discussion of race relations by its full throated enthusiasm for how the Christian gospel offers unique and real solutions to cultural, ethnic and racial divisions, particularly in a Western context. This book is primarily a Biblical exegesis, driven by local church, pastoral concerns, about the particular problems of racism and how to bring peace and harmony to long standing, seemingly intractable problems.
I was first interested in this book because the author, recently retired Minnesota pastor, John Piper, grew up in a neighborhood near me, and describes a local world, the American South, on the cusp of desegregation, of 50 years ago, that I am certainly familiar with. Piper's context, and his own personal observation about himself, that he was a functional, cultural racist during his teen years, coming from the dominant white culture of the time, is something that I can understand well. His personal biography, leading to seeking and mining Biblical truths concerning ethnic and racial divisions, while in graduate school, and even later seeking intentionally to move to a non white majority neighborhood in Minneapolis, MN, gives credence to his desire to incarnation-ally live a life that embraces a Biblical call for all nations and groups to worship Christ.
He addressed contemporary concerns while showing how he believes that concerns outside the realm of the healing power of the Christian gospel can only offer a patch. For instance, his teaching that diversity without harmony, is not a long term solution resonates. While dealing with contemporary culture, this is not a book of politics, but rather an attempt by one Christian pastor to address longstanding divisions with the direct application of Biblical exegesis.
Piper is known for his passion and embrace and desire to expand an understanding of God's glory, from the context of conservative, Reformation Protestantism. The writing in this volume desires more than to impart information. The text is written warmly and clearly, but it also desires for the reader to change and to consider their own life privileges, ethno centrism, and snobbery and personal self righteousness of place and culture, so that the reader would engage with a full hearted passion, where they live now, to effect real Biblical harmony, love, and respect as well, for all people.
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